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Braveheart, William Wallace (Mel Gibson)

Site Rating: 75%
(ratings: 4)
Writeup Rating: 60%
(ratings: 4)
Film: Braveheart (1995)
Deceased Character: William Wallace (Mel Gibson)
Archetype: Goody (Major)
Killed by: unknown
Killed with: Various spiky things

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'Torture' icon 'Execution' icon 'Dismemberment' icon 'Hacked' icon
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Written by Old Bluffer 2nd Jun 2005

This public execution has all the trappings that the bored peasants out for a day's entertainment expect. Lots of heckling, thrown refuse, painful torture, dying words and a poignant keepsake clutched in the dying man's fingers.

The official in charge of the execution tries his hardest to make his victim beg for mercy, but Wallace is tough enough to defy his tormentor. Proof enough that a true Scotsman would rather undergo brutal torture than appear weak in front of a wee Englishman.

The famous "Freedom" cry - shame the makeup artists forgot to add sweat to Mel's face though.

What is missing between these screengrabs, is the endless sentimental montage of everyone who has ever met Wallace in his entire life.

4 categories : Torture, Execution, Dismemberment, Hacked

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Other Death Reviews for Braveheart (1995)

William Wallace (Mel Gibson)

Last Updated: 2nd Jun 2008
Number of views for this review since 30th May 2008: 68103
This review has 30 comments. Reply to the comments
Comment 1 by 'Jo269976' (reply to this comment)
C'mon Scotland! tongue sticking out smiley
Comment 2 by 'wonkjim' (reply to this comment)
Oh come on that deserved more categories it was so damn herioc when he screams "FREEDOM!".
Comment 3 by 'Ocafi' (reply to this comment)
This death made me sick to my stomach. The imagination runs wild with this one, especially when they start bringing out the hooks and scythes. Knowing that they previously showed a guy getting his head caved in by a flail, and that they refused to show what was going on here, it made it seem all the more gruesome.
Comment 4 by 'Your mom' (reply to this comment)
The death of wallace was freaken awesome. the only thing that could have made it better is if they had added a little more gore. they could of shown them ripping open his stomach, and possibly a little more blood. Overall I thought it was very well done, and entertaining.
Comment 5 by 'Kooshmeister' (reply to this comment)
I think the movie was trying to adhere to the old theory that what you don't see is much more effective.
Comment 6 by 'Mr Mouseburger' (reply to this comment)
Or to be more cynical about it, it would have been given a higher certificate, greatly affecting its box office sales....winking smiley
Comment 7 by 'servo' (reply to this comment)
Sometimes I wonder if Mel Gibson looked back at his death scene in Braveheart and was wondering how to make the torture scenes last for an entire film, hense giving us The Passion of the Christ.
Comment 8 by 'Mohammed' (reply to this comment)
Im a muslim and after watching that I was in tears..this might sound dumb but yes I was in tears couldnt believe someone so great with so much pride for his country was killed like that..Sir William is now my role model ever since I watched braveheart,..' Braveheart - Soundtrack - 18 London Symphony Orchestra (James < thats the soundtrack from braveheart..which makes me cry everytime I hear it I think about the hate some ppl have and how good ppl get killed for no reason..all he wanted was freedom and even for that he died the way he did with no care or thought about how bad it might be.
Comment 9 by 'Mr Mouseburger' (reply to this comment)
I agree, it is a very poignant scene, although it was ultimately a pointless one in the terms of history.

I think i know the piece of music you are referring to. is it the music playing when he shouts "freedom"? If so, that is a great piece of music.

Comment 10 by 'Mohammed' (reply to this comment)
Why pointless? this track is 7 min...has a little of all the tracks from the movie..which is lovely and it blends in so well too.
Comment 11 by 'MajorBaxter' (reply to this comment)
Does "dismemberment" cover "decapitation"?
Comment 12 by 'old bluffer' (reply to this comment)
Does "dismemberment" cover "decapitation"?
No, so if it is implied that his head is removed we need to add decapitation too.
If he was going to be hung drawn and quartered then that would qualify, but I don't recall any hanging...?
Comment 13 by 'le0pard13' (reply to this comment)
IIRC, on his DVD commentary track, Mel describes how they had to heavily re-edit this sequence. There was a lot more blood and gore on display in his initial cut of the film. But, preview audiences could not take it (alluding to many taking a walk). As well, the scene where the inquisitor slowly reveals the instruments of torture to Wallace, Mel says they had to remove a piece of dialog. Paraphrasing, '...and we will use each one...' It instilled too much dread among the preview audience and some left after that line, and before the fun begins.

That said, I think the sequence is still very powerful and uses the audiences imagination to fill in the unseen actions to great length. And, if you're familiar with the old British form of execution for treason (hung, drawn, and quartered), those images can be quite horrific. In fact, Mel actually describes what really happened to Wallace on that commentary track--the film maker actually toned it down, significantly.
Comment 14 by 'Kooshmeister' (reply to this comment)
Yeah, I recently watched the DVD with the commentary myself and I'd be interested to see the deleted material, out of morbid curiousity.
Comment 15 by 'Jason MacCleesh' (reply to this comment)
I just cant understand how many idiots on this forum actually beleive what they saw in a Hollywood movie!

The guy who wrote Braveheart said its 80% fiction on every chat she he did while promoting the film. Mel Gibson himself said the only reason why he did the movie was because of the stories artistic license and if he would have had to have made the movie historically acurate then he wouldnt have bothered.

Wallace was executed in 1305, five years before Isabella and Henry II were married. Edward III was born in 1312, seven years after Wallace's death. In fact, Isabella was only 11 years old when Wallace died. If Wallace did screw her, like suggested in the movie, then that would make him a paedophile which Im sure is a fine icon for you all to look up to! Also the sweet little woman depicted in the movie is quite unlike the actual Isabella, called the "She- wolf of France," who personally murdered her husband with a hot poker.

Robert The Bruce couldn't have "betrayed" Wallace because he and Wallace actually were fighting on opposite sides, since Wallace supported John Balliol as king of Scotland instead of Bruce.

Wallace invaded north eastern England, killing men, women, and children as he went
raping and looting were a part of his strategy to bring fear to those in his way.

So the next time you go see a great movie thats based very very loosely around some historic event or character, just do some research before you go blubbering into your kleenex.

Read these:

or just go to your local library instead of sitting on your fat butts stuffing your faces with pocorn!
Its people like you that give all of us a bad name throughout the world, this is why Americans are classed as the stupidest most uncultured people on earth.
Comment 16 by 'Matt' (reply to this comment)
Fair points, but bear in mind that you really shouldn't speak in generalities - I'm British, as is Old Bluffer. Likewise, I don't think Americans are "the stupidest, most uncultured people on earth" since I'm pretty sure you'll find those in every country, not to mention that's very rude and stereotyping.

Matt, who has never seen Braveheart.
Comment 17 by 'Kooshmeister' (reply to this comment)
Historically inaccurate or not, I still consider Braveheart to be a great film, and I like how Gibson's Wallace really, really, reeeeeally wants to avoid any trouble until the English just push him too far. He's good at that sort of role (see The Patriot, too, for example, although unlike Braveheart I can't say I like that movie very much).

As to why I dislike The Patriot, well, I'm unsure. It's got most if not all of the same elements Braveheart does (including a cool villain; Colonel Tavington and Edward the Longshanks are awesome love-to-hate-'em baddies), but there's just this weird undercurrent of smugness about it, unlike in Braveheart in which I detect no such smugness (well, except from Longshanks, but that's understandable given that he's the heavy).
Comment 18 by 'Lestat' (reply to this comment)
"After the beheading, William Wallace's body was torn to pieces. His head was set on London Bridge, his arms and legs sent to the four corners of Britian as a warning. It did not have the effect that Longshanks planned"

this is obviously sayin that Edward Longshanks was the most ruthless king to ever sit in the throne of England, & when Wallace was killed it still hadn't achieved anythin.

these final words from the movie Braveheart, tell us of his passion and legacy:

"In the year of our Lord - 1314
Patriots of Scotland, starving and outnumbered
Charged the fields of Bannockburn.
They fought like warrior poets, they fought like Scotsmen... and won their freedom"
Comment 19 by 'Lady Elenora' (reply to this comment)
I have just (and I MEAN just!) finished reading a book called "William Wallace The Kings Enemy" by D J Gray. It is a FANTASTIC book! I could not put it down. It is a factual book, not a work of fiction. In fact, having read the book, the film Braveheart directed by Mel Gibson is, to the most part, true to the facts. (even if some of the storylines in the film are a bit mixed up re dates etc)

Bruce was on opposing sides to Balloil, but he did join with Wallace later on. King Edward 1st, however did not entirely trust Bruce because he gave him his allegience, but kept changing sides. Wallace fought for the most part in the name of Balloil, who he later met in France. The book does state that we don't actually know what Wallace thought of Balloil but it gives the distinct impression that he wasn't overall impressed. Wallace was the only man who actually fought for Scotland's freedom. Wallace did not hold any substantial lands or vassals, he fought only for the cause of freedom for the Scots. The others changed sides quite often. He did have his own band of close followers who never changed sides, but quite a few of the knights and earls did, according to how Edward threatened them or their lands or their family. There was also John Comyn, 'The Red' who may well have betrayed Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk. He was supposed to go in with his cavalry when signalled but, when they saw the sheer numbers of the English, fled. He was never forgiven by Wallace. It might well be that he hoped Wallace would die in the fray, as he thought that he, a man of means, should not be taking orders or direction in battle by the 'lowly' Wallace. Had he not betrayed Wallace, the battle might well have been won. Bruce was not at Falkirk.

Wallace travelled to Fance to appeal to the king, Phillip. Phillip was sympathetic, but Edward later married Phillip's daughter (or was it his sister?!) so there was a family connection there which led Phillip to side more with Edward than with Wallace. Wallaces 'wife' Margaret was killed because she helped him and his father escape when they were trapped in her village. The book does not mention Isabelle, which I must admit, I was a little disappointed in, as I am a great romantic!

Wallace suffered an awful and humiliating death. So much so, it makes me ashamed to be English. He was hung, drawn and quartered, which makes it sound quite clinical. In fact, the victims in these sentances were hanged till they were not quite dead. They were still alive enough to know what was happening to them. They were taken down and laid on a table or slab. Instruments of torture or butchery were laid out before them, and their bodies were slit from throat to genitals, from left to right. (No painkillers obviously!). Their innards were taken out and shown to them, so they knew what was happening. Then the organs were thrown onto a fire. Finally, their genitals were cut off, and presumably shown to them also, and put onto the fire. Then their heads were cut off and later placed on spikes above the London Bridge Then their bodies were cut into quarters. His right leg was sent to Berwick, the left to Perth, the left arm was taken to stirling and the right arm to Newcastle Upon Tyne, to hang 'above the sewer'.

I have also read the book "William Wallace Braveheart" by James Mackay, which is another good read. This book also states that, when men where hung, they would involuntarily urinate and defecate, and "as a final obscene touch, had a massive erection and involuntarily ejaculated. to the amusement and entertainment of onlookers".

How on earth would you possibly portray this in a film?!

Obviously, I have very quickly run over a few facts so you really need to read these books to get the full picture. His 'bad' death leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a bad feeling in my heart.
Comment 20 by 'Lady Elenora' (reply to this comment)
Oh, by the way, William Wallace did NOT execute women and children, he let them go.

Edward I, however (or/and) his soldiers did. He actually watched whilst a woman who was giving birth was hacked to death in the middle of it! After seeing that, Edward finally stopped the sack of Berwick. A group of 30 Flemish craftsmen took shelter in the Guildhall, at that time called the Red Hall, and Edward had it burned with them inside. The siege of Berwick lasted 3 days. The governor of Berwick, Sir William Douglas, surrended because he was appalled at the level of violence that his citizens were subjected to.
Comment 21 by 'Digby Darling' (reply to this comment)
This comment:

"Its people like you that give all of us a bad name throughout the world, this is why Americans are classed as the stupidest most uncultured people on earth."

lends to the fact that YOU are one of the most uncultured people on Earth. Do you even know what the word "cultured" means? I actually was rather taken and impressed by what you had to say until the aforesaid asinine comment. Just because Americans have Hollywood and Blockbuster doesnt mean everyone in the goddamned country thinks that way. If we, as individuals, were to view other individuals from other countries according to their leaders I would say you are in the same boat that you class Americans in, due to your *lovely* Tony Blaire, thank you very much.
Comment 22 by 'CRM' (reply to this comment)
As for the person who posted about how Americans are the stupidest whatever, look at your misspellings before you post! Don't be upset just because the West of your pond owned your ancestors back in 1776. Get over it! You remind me of that British celebrity from iCarly who hates everything American.

As for being drawn, I believe that the method starts "down there" and moves to the neck before harvesting the insides, rather than from the throat to southbound. This grisly form of punishment happens to some other people beyond British and Scottish. Slaves from Africa or America, Native Americans, religious figures, etc. I remember reading one American History textbook back in high school, and compared it with my brother's and cousins' other History textbooks. Unlike their textbooks before, this one textbook has articles of slaves in America being quartered, and I wanted to believe that it must have something to do with the quartering of homes from troops or something. The book only described it as a gruesome form of punishment. I also remember that a few slaves had preferred that punishment over being burned alive, which to them was more painful. And probably less erection-causing, as one poster stated.

I agree that there should have been some blood, at least half a pint "down" from Mel's body during his facial reaction from the camera above. I'm no bloodthirsty goreaholic, but I think that his portrayal of Wallace's death was enough for me to take. Though, there may have been inaccuracies to suit Hollywood's standards, I believe that it is essential to portray a long-gone historical event, especially when one who was considered or portrayed as some hero. It is more suitable than trying to portray a recent event while some goreaholics expecting to see more blood and gore talk about it like it's some video game just because, to them, looks so "awesome". This is why I don't like movies like World Trade Center. Or any war movies that portray a recent war event. This is no game. I wait for some people to come home safe from Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't believe that all Americans are "uncultured" or "stupid" just because of a few bloodthirsty goreaholics who want to see real events glamourized in a gory fashion.
Comment 23 by 'Me' (reply to this comment)
I think you mean popcorn not pocorn and lighten up it was just a movie I think it's funny that people like you who try to tell us all these facts are wrong alot instead of sitting on your arse Reading and complaining you should find a sense of humour I don't think you will find one in a book
Comment 24 by 'Pat' (reply to this comment)
old bluffer Wrote:
> Does "dismemberment" cover "decapitation"?
> No, so if it is implied that his head is removed
> we need to add decapitation too.
> If he was going to be hung drawn and quartered
> then that would qualify, but I don't recall any
> hanging...?
No, but William Wallace was dismembered and decapitated. Lets get something straight that I've noticed. His body was sent to four areas around the southern part of Scotland. To say the four corners of Britian is not really true. This was a warning to Scotland. Edward 1 hated Scots. He did feel "the only good Scot is a dead one".
Comment 25 by 'Pat' (reply to this comment)
I think Americans (North and South) are smart enough to figure that one out wise guy.
Comment 26 by 'Abbeyrose' (reply to this comment)
Why wasn't there much blood?
Ill tell you.
You know the long handed sithe thing with the hook at the end that is shown multiple times? Its to let you know that his bowels were extracted through his anus, which would explain the lack of spraying blood.
Comment 27 by 'Deltax918x' (reply to this comment)
lol I totally agree with you on the death scene and did anyone really like the Passion of the Crist :thumbsdown:
Comment 28 by 'john' (reply to this comment)
duche bag
Comment 29 by 'Ray' (reply to this comment)
In regards to the makeup artists "forgetting" to add sweat to his face, it's actually more realistic that he DOESN'T have sweat. Once your body is dehydrated (which his body most likely is) it will stop producing sweat. If anything, this was a very intelligent choice by the makeup dept.
Comment 30 by 'Chris 28' (reply to this comment)
I just wanted to say that u are right about the torture scene in braveheart when William Wallace
is tied down to the executioner table and the executioner cuts open William Wallace shirt and then the second executioner takes the uncomfortable torture weapon and starting to cut open William Wallace stomach they could have shown that happening I wish they did show that part !!!!!!!!! but what kind of torture weapon did the executioner use to cut open William Wallace bare stomach?? how many torture weapons did the executioner use to cut open William Wallace bare stomach ?? one two three four ??? does anyone know the right answers ???